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When life has you down

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Stress comes in many shapes and sizes.

Perhaps your struggle is with your friends. They may put pressure on you to do things you don't want to do.

Perhaps your struggle is at work. You don't feel like you can keep up and when you try, no one even notices.

Perhaps your struggle is with family. It is just not going the way you dreamed it would.

Sometimes we feel like we just can't win. The hard times put so much pressure on us that we don't feel like we can make it through another day.

So often we want to avoid these hard times, but from a spiritual perspective pain is not always a bad thing.

The Apostle Paul was a man who knew pain but had the right perspective. He was neglected by friends and family, he suffered unjust prison sentences and was even left for dead.

Despite these things, he was able to say, "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." -- Romans 5:3.

Without hard times, we don't become strong or have the chance to know what we are made of. Without hard times, we won't be able to overcome the next hurdle in life or know the strength God can provide. The next time life gets you down, try taking a long term perspective, and with God's help there can be a difference.